The First Day
For the first day of school, I plan many activities so that I do not have to think of lessons on the spot (which has happened to me in previous years). There are many great activities offered on the web. Look at the Back to School links on the next page for ideas.
Here are some items that I review with the students on the first day:
Take a look at the books section for some read-alouds and recommended resources: scroll down to see some great books for the first day of school! Also take a look at the Literature Activities page for Miss Nelson is Missing Activities.
When my students first arrive, I allow them to walk around the classroom and look at the different areas so that they can feel comfortable once we are about to begin. They are allowed to choose their own desks as well. On top of their desks, students find a nice surprise--- a pencil box filled with a box of crayons, "Second Graders are Great!" pencil, "Mrs. Gomez's Class" pencil (from the Oriental Trading Company), one regular pencil and eraser, scissors, and a bookmark. Inside their desks are their folders (desk, homework, assignment, and Friday folders) as well as their workbooks, a journal, a spelling notebook, and any other supplies they need. Textbooks are passed out during the day with their name and numbers (see classroom management section).
Some first days of school activities: Check out the Back to School links for more lessons and ideas for the first days of school.
Great books for the first day:
The First Weeks
The first few weeks of school are used for assessment and evaluation. Lessons are geared towards reviewing the previous year's concepts. Students are also evaluated for placement in reading groups. Also, I use a second grade checklist to see where the students' weaknesses are. (Check the Back to School Links for sample checklists for different grades.)
I like to use running records to assess my students' reading levels (using Fountas & Pinnell system) and their fluency. For more ideas, go to the Fluency Page and the Leveling Your Classroom Library Page.